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Maharashtra must repay money collected for violating mask mandate: Plea filed in Bombay High Court

While hearing a public interest lawsuit (PIL) seeking a refund of penalties collected by Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), from persons who wore masks in public places, the Bombay High Court issued a notice to the Maharashtra government.

The PIL questioned the legality of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that was extended on March 1, under which those who were not completely vaccinated were barred from using public transportation or entering public venues.

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The PIL claimed that mask regulations are unscientific and unneeded because the Centre has ruled that masks are not mandatory. As a relief, the petitioner requested that the state be ordered to restore roughly Rs 120 crore in penalties collected from persons using illegal techniques, as well as the commission paid to marshals by the BMC.

Petitioner Feroze Mithiborewala, in addition to contesting the SOP, sought that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and other officials be punished for several violations of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik convened a bench to hear the state’s answer in the matter.

This is Mithiborewala’s second PIL addressing the subject. The court had already dismissed his first PIL, expressing concern over the state’s action and failing to intervene.

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The PIL has requested that the SOPs be declared unlawful, arbitrary, and unconstitutional under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.

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